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Case Study: Noise Buffering

“The auditory chaos is unbearable.”

After four months of lockdown, this Philadelphia family of five was suffering. The 17 foot ceiling in their dining room was creating so much acoustical clatter, particularly at meal times, that they were all fraying from the stress.

Particularly affected was Bryan, who is highly sensitive to sound. This condition is called hyperacusis,’ a disorder in loudness perception. People suffering from hyperacusis may appear overly sensitive to a range of sounds, finding many noises unbearable and painfully loud. 

When they contacted interior designers, they mostly drew a blank. “Have you tried curtains?”

That’s when they came to Practical Sanctuary. We had plenty of ideas. 

Once we started knocking down the noise level, it was clear what a big impact it was having on us!

Acoustic solutions can range from custom-designed acoustical mosaic murals, to photo art custom-printed on acoustic panels, to simple designs which integrate seamlessly into the existing interior. We worked with the family to narrow down the infinite number of options to one which suited their style. 

After a number of ideas were filtered out, we settled on a pattern of acoustical panels which accentuated the family’s signature artwork, while maintaining the design of the room. We discovered a custom fabric which the family loved, and used it to cover two large panels for the dining room and stairwell, acting as joyful pieces of art which also buffer reflected sound

Within a few weeks, we had substantially reduced the noise level in common rooms of the house, without making substantial changes to the layout or overall style. In our client’s words:

Stephanie had clear, practical advice and a partner she trusted — and her solutions were far less expensive than I had been fearing! She’s great at keeping a project moving, and we had substantial improvements in a very short period of time. The kitchen in particular is a much more enjoyable place to spend time.

On the whole, the space is much brighter, quieter, and has much more positive energy. We have 2 other children in the house daily with a learning pod, and I’m very happy we did this project. Once we started knocking down the noise level, it was clear what a big impact it was having on us!”

–Helen H, Philadelphia